The concept of androgyny has appeared in every culture. Joseph Campbell tells us that the mythologies of both the Orient and Occident share an image of the first being, “who was originally one but became two.” With the cementing of patriarchy and the onset of Christianity, this concept became buried deep in the unconscious. As Jungian analyst June Singer has noted, “The Androgyne has been nearly totally expunged from the Judeo-Christian tradition, for it apparently threatens the idea of a patriarchal God-image.”
But with the increase in psychological awareness in today’s world, this is changing. Today we realize with Singer that, “Androgyny is an archetype inherent in the human psyche….[which] refers to a specific way of joining the “masculine” and “feminine” aspects of a single human being.” One has only to observe the rapid dissolution of gender role stereotypes and the sexual double standard, compare the clothing and hair styles of young people with those of our parents’ generation, or observe how gender-blind young people are in their choice of friends to see that this archetype is making a dramatic reappearance in Western society.
Angels are a particularly intriguing manifestation of the Androgyne archetype. We see them everywhere: on television, in books and movies, on clothing, and in personal narratives. According to most accounts angels are genderless messengers who come to point us in healing new directions. They exemplify the very best aspects of psychological and spiritual androgyny.
A projection of the Androgyne which has captured the imagination of the entire planet is space aliens. Whereas those who come to conquer and destroy represent our worst fears, the positive ones — E.T. and the kindly light-filled beings in films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Cocoon — fill us with awe and hope. Whether space aliens derive from the universe without or the universe within, there can be little doubt that they signal the onset of a massive evolutionary transformation in human consciousness.
Psycho-spiritual androgyny is not about sexuality or gender, but about valuing our inner world. It emerges as we unite the disowned aspects of our masculine drive for self-preservation (developing our individuality) and feminine drive for species-preservation (developing loving relationships). If there were such a thing as pure masculinity and pure femininity, and if we could draw a line between these complementary opposites, every soul would occupy its own unique position on the continuum. Since each soul is unique, all would manifest their creativity differently. Moreover, a person with a fully activated Androgyne would radiate enormous power because consciously integrated masculinity and femininity, both at the top of their energy, is the ultimate power of which humanity is capable.
Leaving stereotypes behind frees us to become what we were created to be and relate openly and honestly to others. Thus, the Androgyne represents our potential to experience heaven on Earth: peace and loving oneness with ourselves, others, and the Mystery of Life.
Can you think of other examples of how the Androgyne is manifesting in today’s world?